Posted on 05 March 2017.
Predictions are usually not right, but they are fun and thus we are going to do some 2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions.
I’ve done predictions for many years, and very rarely do they come to fruition. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are fun to do and fun to talk about. So with that, I am going to go through each pool and predict what will happen. A lot of this is based on rosters, but not all of it. Some of it is just a gut feel which may help others to see why I am doing what I am doing. I do not think everyone will agree with me either. Of course, that is half the fun. So here we go.
Pool A will consist of the following teams: South Korea (host), Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Israel.
- Netherlands 3-0 (50:1 odds)
- South Korea 2-1 (15:1 odds)
- Israel 1-2 (200:1 odds)
- Chinese Taipei 0-3 (120:1 odds)
I am probably following most predictions in that the two teams I see advancing are South Korea and the Netherlands. However, I am going to predict a few things that others may not like. First, I see the Netherlands winning this pool. I think this comes down to Game 3 on Tuesday March 7th between these two clubs, and I feel that the Dutch will outscore Korea in a shootout. The other “out on a limb” prediction I am going to make is that Israel beats Chinese Taipei, and I think they come within a few innings of advancing but fall to South Korea in their match up. They are one team that will be overlooked and under appreciated, and that is why I think they make a run. I think they will come out and shock South Korea by nearly beating them in Game 1 of pool play.
Pool B consists of Japan (host), Cuba, China, and Australia.
- Japan 3-0 (3:1 odds)
- Cuba 2-1 (12:1 odds)
- Australia 1-2 (200:1 odds)
- China 0-3 (200:1 odds)
In Tokyo I feel Japan will dominate only having a contest with Cuba. They are the class of Pool B and a title contender. The rest of the field I think will be fun and interesting to watch. Japan is one of the favorites (3rd best odds according to Vegas Insider) with Cuba not being too far behind. I think 3rd place comes down to Australia vs China and fear that is really all they are playing for. Australia could make a run with a shock against Cuba, but I don’t see that happening. China is really the unknown here, but don’t look for them to finish higher than third.
Pool C consists of United States (host), Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada.
- Dominican Republic 3-0 (5:2 odds)
- United States 2-1 (11:5 odds)
- Canada 1-2 (60:1 odds)
- Colombia 0-3 (120:1 odds)
This is one pool I am really excited to see. The USA is favored by many to win the whole thing. I am not convinced. I think they struggle to make it out of pool play just getting past both Canada and Colombia. I see the Dominican to dominate the pool and win easily against all three opponents.
Pool D consists of Mexico (host), Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy.
- Puerto Rico 2-1 (10:1 odds)
- Venezuela 2-1 (6:1 odds)
- Mexico 1-2 (40:1 odds)
- Italy 1-2 (120:1 odds)
This might be the most wide open pool. It is the only one where I am going to predict the host country doesn’t make it out of the round. I think it all comes down to the final game between Mexico and Venezuela, and I am going with Venezuela. I think Italy will shock a team (perhaps Mexico) and create havoc in the pool play, and don’t look for anyone here to go undefeated. It is going to be a wide open pool. This also might be the only pool where the first round tiebreaker game is needed, although I could see it possibly used in Pool C as well.
Pool E in Tokyo, Japan will consist of Cuba, Netherlands, Japan (host), and South Korea.
This pool will be a great one to watch. I see Japan and the Netherlands coming out of it to advance to the semifinal round. This will be a hotly contested round, but I see it going down in the following fashion:
- Japan 2-1
- Netherlands 2-1
- Cuba 1-2
- South Korea 1-2
Pool F in San Diego will consist of USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.
A lot of people are high on Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. However, I think this is where they fail to advance. There will be a lot of talent here and this will come down to the final games in the pool, and very well might need a tiebreaker game for a team to advance.
- Dominican Republic 2-1
- USA 2-1
- Puerto Rico 2-1
- Venezuela 0-3
The Finals will take place in Los Angeles. And while I think we will see a new team garner a medal, I do not think we have a team win its first championship. Instead, I think we have a match up of the only two winners so far in Japan and the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic 5, Netherlands 2
Japan 3, USA 1
Japan 3, Dominican Republic 2 (11 Innings)
So there you have it. I am calling for an extra inning championship game where Japan reclaims its title. The Vegas favorite is the USA, but I see them coming up short in their quest for the title.
Now don’t get me wrong, I will be pulling for the USA in any game they play. At the same time I will be pulling for teams like Italy, Israel, and Australia to win since it will only help those countries going forward. I would love to see one of them advance to Round 2, but I just do not see it happening just yet. Italy advanced in 2013, but I feel their pool this go around will be stronger. But it is not out of the realm of possibility.
I’d love to hear what you think and who you think will win it all.